Megyn Reflects on the Death of O.J. Simpson and Why She Believes He Was a ‘Double Murderer’

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Daily News via AP

We got breaking news this morning related to a man who became associated with one of the most famous court cases in American history and one of the most infamous crimes ever committed. O.J. Simpson has died at the age of 76. 

O.J. Simpson Dies

His family announced the news on Simpson’s active X account. Their post reads, in part, that “Orenthal James Simpson succumbed to his battle with cancer” on April 10 “surrounded by his children and grandchildren.” The family asked for “privacy and grace” during “this time of transition.” 

TMZ reported that O.J. had been battling prostate cancer in recent years, and his health recently took a turn for the worse. Back in February, he denied rumors that he was in hospice care on social media.

That was the thing about O.J. Simpson. As you see in that clip, his public persona was jolly, good natured, and easy to like. It’s one of the reasons he became such a star. It’s why America fell in love with him. 

He initially rose to fame by winning the Heisman Trophy and breaking all sorts of records at USC before becoming a star NFL running back with the Buffalo Bills. He then went on to become a very famous actor in commercials and movies.

The Double Murder Trial

Yet he truly became one of the most famous – or infamous – people in the world 30 years ago, in 1994, when he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles. The two were killed in a pair of absolutely gruesome stabbings as the five- and eight-year-old children Nicole and O.J. shared together from their marriage were steps away inside the house.

The slow-moving car chase with O.J.’s white Bronco happened soon thereafter as police closed in on him. He was the lead suspect whom they wanted to arrest. It became an iconic moment in American history – as did his subsequent arrest, trial, and acquittal.

People remember where they were when they watched those court proceedings that captivated the nation for months on end – even more so than the car chase – making not only O.J. but so many other characters in the case household names to this day. 

Marcia Clark, the prosecutor in the case who is a regular here on The Megyn Kelly Show, detailed the brutality of the killings in her opening statement. It was stated repeatedly by the prosecution that Nicole Brown Simpson was nearly decapitated. So brutal was the attack that she suffered. 

O.J.’s lawyer Johnnie Cochran, of course, famously said, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” He argued that gloves found at the murder scene could not possibly belong to his client because, when O.J. was asked by the prosecution to try them on, they did not fit. It was a blunder by the prosecution, and Cochran made a showing of it.

The Verdict

In the end, O.J. was found not guilty. The decision split the country right in two. Again, most of us remember where we were when the verdict came down. 

Yours truly had just begun my career as a lawyer. I watched the trial as a third-year law student. We would go to our classes in the morning, and we would gather in the student center to watch it on one of those old, fat TVs in the afternoon.

When the verdict came down in 1995, I was at my law firm. The audience was all white lawyers and one Black receptionist. They said “not guilty” and the white lawyers stood there stunned as our Black receptionist was cheering. It was just a microcosm of what was happening all across America at that moment. 

It was a case that made people start to understand the massive distrust of police, especially within the Black community and especially in Los Angeles. It made people start to understand that the evidence in the case and the accusations – strong as they were – were being viewed very differently by citizens across this country. 

O.J. would later be sued by Ron Goldman’s family for wrongful death in civil court, where the burden of proof is lower than it is in a criminal court. Indeed, that jury found him liable for the double murders in 1997.

More Legal Trouble

But that was not the end of O.J.’s legal troubles. In 2008, he was found guilty of kidnapping and armed robbery related to a sports memorabilia scam that he was running in Las Vegas. The Goldmans were able to garnish his wages forevermore after that verdict. They alleged he was trying to get out of paying them and finding ways of earning money, potentially, off the books. 

He was sentenced to 33 years in prison for that crime. Many believed the punishment was so hefty, not for that crime, but payments of an earlier one. He was released in 2017 on good behavior and went on to have a rather large presence on social media, posting videos like the ones I included here where he was all smiles.

O.J. Simpson’s Legacy

That’s the thing about O.J. Simpson: His personality was effervescent. There was something likable about the guy and the way he related to us all. 

But in my view, O.J. was a killer. He was a double murderer, just as that civil jury found. And the fact that he had great lawyers who pointed out some failings of the prosecution in his case doesn’t change that for me. This guy brutally murdered two people for absolutely no reason other than his rage and his history of domestic violence against his wife, which went ignored because he was a celebrity.

I don’t think you can look back at this man’s legacy and remember much more than that. O.J. never asked for forgiveness, and I certainly never gave it.

Yes, he was a great football player. Yes, he was a good actor. Yes, he had a great personality. And, yes, he brutally killed two people – including the mother of his very young children. That is what most of us will remember O.J. Simpson for.

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to episode 764 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.